• Final 2012 update

    Just got back from my final run of the year. It was only 5km and it hurt. I obviously failed my 1000km target many, many months back. So how did I go for the year?

    [progpress title=”My Running Meter” goal=”1000” current=”268.8” label=”kms”]

    268.8 km. Not a great result. Not even one third! The Pacing Bunny well and truly won. Hear hear to the Pacing Bunny.

    I think it’s time for a graph or two (or three).

    This is the kilometers run per month for 2012. The huge stretch of time where I ran zero kilometers is clearly where I got supremely lazy and didn’t run because I reckoned my knee hurt. It seems fixed now.


    That spike in October? Good month. Unfortunately, the 79.4 km run is still 4km short of what I’ll need to run on average for a whole year to get to 1000km!

    Here’s all my runs broken into week brackets. Last year, I started (and ended) with good intentions.


    Finally, all my runs for the last four years broken into yearly brackets. The big discovery here is that I haven’t actually run 1000km in the last four years combined.


    All up in 2012, I ran for 21 hours, 09 minutes and 27 seconds.

    So 1000km for 2013 is again the target. It’s easy to say, but today’s XKCD cartoon addresses what is likely to happen.


  • The day my Kindle broke

    UPDATE: 9 July 2013I’ve written a better step-by-step guide here.

    I pulled it out of my bag, and the screen was broken. Tragedy!

    I have noo idea how it happened. It must have been broken somewhere, but it wasn’t like I’d dropped it or squashed it or stepped on it.

    I decided to see if I could get a replacement from Amazon. I’d read that Amazon sometimes replaces Kindles free-of-charge if the screen is broken. It’s possible I didn’t press hard enough, but that offer never came up for me.

    I did get this offer though:


    I’m sorry to hear about the problem with your Kindle.

    I’ve checked and see that the One-Year warranty of your Kindle has been expired.

    I know a lot of other companies don’t give you any options outside of the original warranty, because you are already a Kindle owner, rather than leaving you hanging we can actually get you a replacement at a highly discounted rate.

    As you are loyal customer, to replace your Kindle device, we have some options for the Kindle device with reduced prices.

    1. Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers for a charge of $54.00.

    2. Certified Refurbished Kindle Touch 3G (ATT), Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers for a charge of $104.00.

    These Kindles will have a new 90 day warranty at no cost and you will even be able to transfer over all your books for free.

    Etc, etc.

    Sigh. I had a think about it, and decided on option 1. But it turns out there was none in stock.

    My Kindle is a 3G keyboard, and you can’t get them anymore. I really like the 3G internet feature (I can download books in more than 100 countries, for only the cost of the book). So I decided to try and fix it!

    I got a new screen from eBay, ordered it. It turned up today so I cracked it open and got to work.

    This guide helped me, but you don’t really need to remove the speaker part to get at the screen. Also, watch you don’t damage the power switch. It’s delicate and I accidentally dislodged it and spent about an hour figuring out how to make it all fit back in again.

    Not to worry, as it’s all fixed now!

    As good as new!

    Things can still be fixed these days. Why buy a new model, when you can fix what you’ve already got?

  • Why are you so grumpy when we have science?

    From explodingdog 2012

  • Late 2012 update

    I’m not going to get to the 1000km in a year target, but I seem to have fixed my knee! So there are a few more kilometers on the board recently.

    [progpress title=”My Running Meter” goal=”1000” current=”224.9” label=”kms”]

    But where’s the bunny?

    [progpress title=”The Pace Bunny” goal=”1000” current=”897.5” label=”kms”]

    <figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Pacing Bunny… winning</figcaption></figure> Data from the last five months

    November: 57 km 4:50:47
    October: 79.4 km 5:33:18
    September: 16.3 km 1:22:58
    August: 0 km 0:00
    July: 5.3 km 27:15


  • The adventures of connecting a mobile phone (Sony Ericsson K700i) to Ardunio

    All I wanted to do was to get my Ardunio to send a SMS.

    There are many ways to do it. People from all over the world have discovered hacks to get a mobile phone connected and sending messages.

    But I found that many of the hacks were for US phones, too complicated, or too expensive.

    For example, this hack looks perfect. The USB Tri-band GPRS Modem at Deals Extreme is cheap (though it was out of stock when I looked). But reading into it, it seems the build quality is poor and that the GPRS modem doesn’t come with an IMEI number. Jarrod on Hack A Day reported “… doesnt work in Australia either.”

    I really like the look of the ADH8066 GSM Module. It’s not that expensive ($49.95 AUD) and looks really capable. The problem was the tiny little pins. That means I need to either get a breakout board ($19.95 USD) or an evaluation board ($49.95 USD). While $100 + delivery isn’t a huge amount, I was pretty sure I could manage to get the feature much cheaper.

    I originally started this little project by looking for old GSM Nokia 5110 phones. They used to be really, really popular. Most people loved them for the little Snake 1 game and ease of SMSing. The problem I found is finding old GSM phones with a serial (RS232) connection is pretty hard in 2012. It seems most people have thrown out (or put away) their old phones with the assumption they are of little value.

    I finally found an old GSM Sony Ericsson K700i. $20 AUD (including delivery) later, it was in my possession and ready for hacking.

    I’d done a little bit of research on the K700i before I bought it. The wonderfully helpful pinouts.ru website shows you all you need to know about the K700i (and similar) models 1. I’d also found someone else who reckoned they’d connected the Ardiuno to a K700i. It’s always helpful if someone has gone before you. The sample code, diagrams, schematics dramatically cut down on time spent fiddling around when trying to link in new sensors/devices. The ardunio.cc forums are helpful in finding people who’ve gone before you.

    So for the K700i in particular, I was interested in pins 4 and 5. They are the data to/from (rx/tx) the phone. Also, 10 for the power supply part. They’re all the pins I need to connect to the Ardunio!

    This comment provides the required details for connection between Arduino and Sony Ericsson K700i

    • Pin 10 is GND
    • Pin 5 is Rx(0) serial
    • Pin 4 is Tx(1) serial

    Connecting the phone (wires) 

    Hooking up the phone to the Ardunio was easy. Straight into the breadboard, then into Ardunio’s digital pins 2 and 3 and GND.

    <figcaption class="wp-caption-text">K700i Connection</figcaption></figure>

    <figcaption class="wp-caption-text">K700i Full Project</figcaption>
    Coding and communicating

    There’s a bible for the way the code communicates with the phone. They’re called AT Commands. You can control all sorts of phone functions with them. I’m mostly interested in SMS and (possibly) GPRS.

    SMS is good for – obviously – sending short messages. GPRS is good for interacting with things on the internet. Sending messages to Twitter, for example. Wouldn’t it be cool if the space balloon could also update the internet where it is?

    One thing to keep in mind, when sending SMS from the Ardunio via the K700i is the phone only accepts “PDU mode”. This may not mean a lot to you, so here’s a quick description: everything (phone number, message, etc) must be converted into an obscure string of numbers/letters, then sent to the phone.

    PDU mode is a dark art, and took a while to work out. Try to get a phone which accepts plain text rather than PDU. I’ve provided the code on BitBucket anyway, which should get your a little way if you attempt to join the Dark Lord on his PDU crusade. The code is far from perfect. In fact, it barely works. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you feel like fixing it up, please do and submit a Pull Request.


    I edited together a quick video of the project, so you can see it in action.


    Any questions? Leave them in the comments.

    Helpful links

    Code links
    [1] Phones similar to the K700i are: K300i, K700, K700i, S700, S700i, F500, F500i, K500, K500i, T610, T616, T630, Z600, P900, P908, T226, T226s, T230, T238, T200, T202, T310, T312, T316, T300, T302, T306, P800, P802, T39m, T39mc, R520, R520m, R520mc, T65s, T66, T62u, T68i, T68m, T68mc, T68ie, z1010, T100, T102, T105, T106, T66, T600,R600, R600s, R600sc, A3618, T610, T628, T616, T616, T630, Z200, Z600, Z608